Friday, June 22, 2012

Frankie Saved Us

It took me a shocking amount of time to figure out what "gay" meant. Don't get me wrong...I'd consumed the fair amount of gay-hate in popular culture: Beverly Hills Cop being the most obvious (gay = disease HA HA HA 80s!!!). When I went with my friend and her older sister to see The Rocky Horror Picture Show when I was eleven, I still didn't really understand it. Frankie, after all, went for both Brad and Janet...and Rocky...and maybe Meatloaf? Couldn't really deal with that one most of all.

In high school I knew many people who were gay. I was the only one who didn't realize they were gay...maybe the only person on earth, but I knew them. In my aged years I've thought about this and I've figured that I just didn't understand that "gay" could exist in the real, small world I inhabited. They only really existed in New York and Europe. My only logic is that I must have believed it was a choice. I KNOW. One of those assholes, right? YET.

There was Frankie, right? For so many of us, he was the first real gay man we'd ever encountered...and LOVED, loved wholeheartedly. There's no doubt in that. Here was this obvious Man. Dragged out in stilettos but a MAN. He created a man, he had a fan club, a castle, and he killed Meatloaf in the bloodiest way you never expected. All in a dress. From that first moment we saw him, descending in his heels and fishnets, you kind of had to step back and go, Whoa. Whoa whoa whoa. For those of us paying attention, Tim Curry's turn as Darkness in Legend was an obvious choice. There was an clear, androgynous sexuality about him, wasn't there?

When I first saw Frankie descending, all I could think was WHAT WHAT WHAAAAT. But all around me I heard people chanting his name. There was no respect for Milquetoast Brad and virgin Janet. But Frankie? Frankie was otherworldly. And, as it turned out, he really was...because he was from Transylvania, a world of transsexuals.

There's so much sub context in the music, obviously, about subterranean world of homosexuality in that world, this world, all worlds maybe. Rose tint my world, right? But the thing is: My exposure to Frankie and his freak show--and the fabulous music that ushered it all in--softened up my world. It made me begin to see that there were other lives, hidden lives, that were not necessarily "freakish" at all. Now Frankie is a succulent crumb, a sweet memory of childhood, even. My first gay man. Fearless and brandishing an ax.


Friday, June 15, 2012

RIP Victor Silva

On May 17,1985 Bobby Ewing died. Sitting 6 inches from my grandparents' TV, I broke down in hysterical tears and screamed "Why did Bobby have to die?" It's one of those memories that causes half embarrassment, half laughter, because What A Drama Queen. The problem was that I wasn't so upset about Bobby Ewing. In normal times, I would have been "upset," but not hysterical, crying UPSET. I'd like to think my grandparents understood. It was only days before this when an athletic superstar of my middle school had been severely injured on his way home from school.

The story was that he'd gone back to pick up a friend's earring from the street. A passing truck's side mirror clipped him directly in the head. It sounds so small, doesn't it? But it wasn't. Victor was changed from this point forward. He wasn't on the JV basketball team at North High...he wasn't on any team. He had suffered a traumatic brain injury that would divert his obvious path to high school athletic stardom to something else. After what I can only guess was a titanic effort, he did come back to us in high school. Thank God he was saved, even if he was changed.

I went to see him in the hospital. He was still not communicating, slow but gesturing. It was shocking. Here was this boy that I'd had a hopeless crush on turned to something my 13 year old mind could not comprehend. We were such babies, and facing this reality far beyond our ability to understand. I remember people hating his "before" girlfriend for not staying with him...this girl who was thirteen years old, her high school years and her WHOLE LIFE ahead of her. Can you imagine the pressure? My baby crush was nothing compared to that.

Victor has died. The reports say from a seizure, no doubt caused by his long term brain injury. By all accounts his funeral was standing room only. Victor didn't give up. He made his impact in life after the brain injury. I know that I once held him up as this tragic figure, but being not thirteen years old anymore, I now understand how hard he must have fought to be speaking, walking, and functional. People didn't attend that funeral just for the boy that was; they attended for the man that came after.

Crying over Bobby Ewing--and dramatically storming to my bedroom after my outburst--was obviously the only way I could deal with what had just happened. Victor was on the verge of death, there were dark possibilities on the horizon. Our teachers tried to make us understand that he might be different. It was too much to handle. It was a lot to understand at that age. Honestly, I still can't deal with the randomness and the extreme corner life can take when you double back to pick up an earring from the street.

PS. On an obviously grim note, this is not the only classmate I've mine to die recently. Another classmate, this time from my much lauded Isley Elementary, was murdered by her boyfriend a couple of weeks ago. I did not know her personally. I was just one of the many who hero worshipped her from afar as she was one of the "popular" ones. She was, in fact, one of the NICE popular ones. She had strawberry red hair and bright eyes. Her name matched her eyes.

I can't stop thinking about her. Not because of her horrifying end--I mostly just can't compute that--but because she's one of those people that seemed destined for a kind and joyful life. What "karma" brought her here? How does this make any sense? It doesn't. I look at my life and wonder why I've been spared. Not because I am bad (I AM SOOO BAD), but because seemingly good and upright people--with children, I might add--leave this earth too soon and in such an ugly way. I guess this is a Dear God letter, huh? So, what's the answer?

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Oh June, Here You Are

On the bright side, a weeeeee tiny champion named Julian now lives on this planet. What a wonderful joy this is. I can't wait to meet him and snorggle his face with auntie kisses which are, by law, always sloppy and terrifying. Welcome to the Hard, Cold Reality of Existence, Julian! It is full of love.

And now to the terribleness: I am officially old in 13 days. THIRTEEN DAYS. I will be 40 (THOUSAND) years old on June 16. Like most human fools, I never thought this bullshit would happen to me. SO. I should probably start making my bucket list because it is basically OVER.

1. Grand Fucking Canyon (again) but this time with a Hot Sex Man (see here) and a kazoo. Because no one has lived until they've heard my rendition of TAPS on a kazoo echoing through the Grand Fucking Canyon.

2. Extra on The Walking Dead. Hello, I don't even need the makeup so you are saving money here, guys. Just give me a bowl of cow intestines and a script and I am Good To Go. At 40 (THOUSAND) years old, I don't need even a puff of white makeup. I am already the walking dead, assholes.

3. Mars Mission FTW. YEEEEZZZZZ. After age 39, what does anyone have left to lose? Except the diaphanous tendrils of life? Which are weak and OLDE. So rocket my ass to Mars, bitches. I would be happy to rove the red planet and report back that hey guys, holla, this was Satan's space port and hey guys, heeeey, he's totally pissed and going to burn you, earth, with his hellfire, even though he was totally chill until you invaded his space port.

4. Chicken herding. This shouldn't be hard to complete. Except for the chickens who will bok bok bok then peck my eyes out no matter how much I hug them with love.

5. Antarctica...but from a luxury boat pimped out with King Crab Legs and Channing Tatum & Joe Manganiello serving me drinks and dancing around in cowboy outfits for the duration. Tell them I respect them and they will totally do it.

6. Epic Spa Day. I should actually be able to do this tomorrow. Mani-pedi, facial, avocado body wrap and gentle massage from the hottest of hot gay men I can never have. Except my perfect pores and gleaming toenails will TOTALLY TURN HIM. And he is Jim Parsons. This will happen.

7. Meet Stephen King. Drown him in praise and gratitude. Then WHIP his fucking ASS about Dreamcatcher and putting himself in The Dark Tower series.

8. Epic Reunion with my high school friends. The "IQ Crew." This should actually be really easy but it is not. Once people drift apart it is almost impossible to force them back together. Too much history...or possibly too much apathy. Realizing that you loved someone so much more than they ever even began to remember you is one of those HARD TRUTHS that being 40 (THOUSAND) years old will teach you.

9. Hard wiring "Call Me Maybe" into my brain canals. Since I can't find my Ipod Shuffle. So, this seems logical.

10. Stop Dreaming about Loved Ones. Because it upsets me greatly to wake up and be like, OH, that never happened. I just keep remembering them and experiencing bright spikes of JOY, walking down a cold, downtown street in Wichita from Ago, hanging out in our never-happened mansion, running from and surviving zombies (this dream LITERALLY happened last night). I will be so happy when I see you again. But not in my dreams, okay? Because it renders me broken and tearful when I wake up and realize you are still gone.

11. Stevie Nicks records my song. I've had it ready for her since 1989. It is kind of amazing. No. It is TOTALLY amazing. There are no nightbirds, but whoneedsthem!!! "The sign remains on the the old house in the middle of the desert." Hello. HELLO. There's more where that came from, Stevie.

12. One last visit to Shaw's in Chicago. Best meals of my LIFE. King Crab Legs, butter, lemon. And key lime pie to top it off. Werewolves have more elegance than I did when feasting on these pleasures. It was just me, butter, fangs, airborne crab meat, and lemon juice in any one's eye who dared get too close. It was beautiful. And glistening.

I am sure there are more things...but I am sleepy (OLD ASS 40 THOUSAND YEARS OLD, almost), so goodnight.